Obama’s gun control game plan

Jessica Fischer says she is surprised some of the gun-control laws President Obama is asking Congress to pass aren’t already in place.

A.J. Linscott says some, like a ban on so-called assault-style weapons, would violate Americans’ basic rights.

It’s a debate that will only intensify after the president announced proposals to curb gun violence Wednesday.

Fischer, 31, of Parkersburg, said measures like banning military-style weapons and limiting magazines to 10 rounds just make sense. So does requiring background checks on all gun sales.

“I have young children, so it does kind of freak me out that it’s not something that’s already done,” she said. “You don’t know who you’re selling that gun to. You don’t know what they’re going to do with it.”

Linscott, a Marietta police officer, said he doesn’t think the background check measure is needed, but “I don’t have any heartburn over it.”

What does bother him is the push to revive the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004. It would prevent law-abiding citizens from acquiring such guns, Linscott said, but it won’t stop criminals any more than Prohibition stopped lawbreakers from drinking alcohol.

“We’re going to make it so the righteous person cannot get weapons,” he said. “The dirtbags are going to continue to get them, because they don’t worry about permits or anything like that.”

Linscott said statistics have shown that banning guns doesn’t cut down on crime, but increases it. For example, Washington, D.C.’s homicide rate rose 200 percent from 1976, when its gun ban was enacted, to 1991, according to The Washington Times.

Linscott said he did agree with initiatives aimed at improving mental health care that Obama proposed through executive order.

“(Gun owners) don’t want guns in the hands of the wrong person,” he said.

The reaction was split among Ohio’s representatives in Washington as well.

“I, along with every other American, agree that what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School is a human tragedy,” said Congressman Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, a Marietta resident, in a statement emailed to The Marietta Times. “I support efforts that will improve the identification, diagnosis and treatment of individuals who face serious mental health challenges. I will not support any legislation or executive action that seek to limit the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, voiced support for Obama’s plans, calling them “long overdue.”

“Most Americans support enacting common-sense reforms that will keep our children safe from gun violence,” he said in an emailed statement. “It’s now time for Congress to renew the assault weapons ban, a common-sense effort to prevent the proliferation of deadly, high-powered weapons and close the gun show loophole. … We should also work to reduce the stigma attached to mental health treatment and make sure it is available to those who need it.”